Didn't watch the Republican debate the other night, but have been fascinated by the post-debate debate over Herman Cain. Cain is a favorite among some big league conservative bloggers, especially Erick Erickson and Stacy McCain. He did well enough at the debate (against experienced pols like Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum) that the Frank Luntz focus group declared Cain to have been the winner of the debate. Yet, Republican Establishment types have spent the days after going out of their way to declare Cain to be little more than a fringe 2%-er with no hope of prevailing over the likes of Mitt "Romneycare" Romney or Newt "1995" Gingrich. Hugh Hewitt is typical
This is why the GOP needs to rethink its debate schedule and why the RNC should take over the operation of the debates and exile Cain, Johnson and Paul as well as every other candidate without a prayer of winning. (Santorum is a long shot, but he has a realistic though small chance of winning the nomination, while the others do not.) The seriousness of the fiscal crisis requires the GOP and its candidates to act seriously, and allowing marginal candidates to eat up time and distract from the enormous problems facing the country is not serious.
This brought forth a strong dissent from Jeff Goldstein
And Vox Day points out that at least one of the "marginal" candidates - that would be Ron Paul - is outpolling "major" players like Tim Pawlenty.
It not remarkable how a powerful congressman who performs well in the polls, raises more money than the other candidates, is more intellectually formidable than any of them, and was proven to be correct about both the endless nature of the foreign interventionism of the last decade and the fragility of the banking system is automatically deemed "unelectable" and a "minor candidate". What is remarkable is the large number of mindless, thoughtless Republicans who, despite their feigned disdain for it, blithely accept the mainstream media's assertions and obey the stage management of the party elders.
I can agree that you can't just have 20 or 30 people crowding the stage, but the idea that Romney, Gingrich, and Pawlenty are prohibitive favorites is wrong to the point of being touchingly naive. Where are the Romney people? The Gingrich warriors? The Pawlenty partisans? I don't think there are any, or rather there are no enthusiastic supporters of any of these men. But, that's not the case with every GOP presidential prospect out there.
Ron Paul has a passionate following that, I'll bet, will keep him in the race longer than Gingrich or Pawlenty. Yeah, Paul comes off as "fringe," but he's not a joke like the Democrats' fringe candidates. Paul spent the 2008 campaign ranting about banks, the Fed, out of control spending, and a failing economy. What was the reaction of the Establishment? Lots of "crazy uncle" jokes. Whoops. Is he the guy I'm going to vote for? Probably not, but I'm definitely not voting for the guy who signed Romneycare into law.
Herman Cain has low name recognition, but he is apparently a personally impressive man. Maybe Herman Cain hasn't impressed Karl Rove or Bill Kristol, but he's impressed people who have shown themselves to be more in touch with what kind of politicians have been able to win elections lately. Cain supporters like RS McCain and Erick Erickson were also quick to pick up on insurgents like Marco Rubio and Christine O'Donnell, which ought to give them more credibility than the pros who have picked a lot of bland, handsome losers the last few years.
Also, I keep hearing that Sarah Palin is "damaged goods" and "unelectable." But, announce that she's going to give a speech and you know two things will happen (1) a large boisterous crowd will show up and cheer her every word and (2) everything she says will make a lot more sense than Mitt Romney trying to explain away Romneycare or Newt Gingrich trying to explain why all of his wives began as his mistresses.
Are you starting to see a pattern yet?